Master bedroom progress update! Featuring a chimney sweep, plasterer, plumber, electrician and a stressed out me

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 2 , , , , Permalink 1

I’ve been sleeping on a bed in the living room for the past week and everything that used to be in the bedroom is spread across other rooms. The house has been cold and damp whilst the plaster dries and there’s dust everywhere again – Christmas seems so long ago! Here’s a reminder of what the bedroom looked like at the end of my last blog post.

Not looking great

I made this mess.

Why I wrecked the chimney breast wall

The plan was to open up the fireplace and clean out the builder’s opening to create a feature wall with an electric stove. First I wanted to remove some of the plaster from the fireplace to investigate what was underneath. The fireplace arch was much higher than I expected and it seemed to be in poor condition. The centre keystone brick was cracked and it looked like the arch had dropped on one side. There was no other lintel or support. I could see where modern bricks had been used to close up the builders opening, but didn’t want to remove any in case the whole thing came down.

Obviously I'm a Photoshop expert.

I’m a Photoshop expert.

If I wanted to open up the fireplace I’d need to consider the weight of the bricks above. The extra expense and disruption needed to install a supporting lintel to create a hole for an electric stove didn’t seem worth it. My plans for the fireplace changed – I now want to

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A room of one’s own: finishing touches and the big reveal (part 2)

Sunday, April 19, 2015 9 , , , Permalink 0

In my previous blog post I’d started to prep the study ready for decorating, so I’ll continue where I left off…

Step 5: add a new radiator

The old radiator was in an awkward position at the entrance to the room so there wasn’t much clearance to open the door. When the fire doors were installed I had the new door frame moved across a couple of inches to help solve this problem.

You can just about see in the photo below that the pipes came out through the skirting too, rather than up through the floorboards. Keeping the pipes like this would have caused problems when fitting the skirting.

Old single panel radiator underneath low window in study, bare floorboards and tools everywhere

Old single panel radiator

I wanted a radiator slim enough to fit next to the door, that was traditional in style and that had enough output to heat the room.

First I had to calculate how much radiator power was needed in British Thermal Units (BTUs). Factors that affect the BTU output needed include the size of the room, the number of windows and if the room is insulated. After a quick Google I found several online BTU calculators but each one I tried asked different questions and resulted in figures ranging from 1470 BTUs to 3110 BTUs. That’s a considerable difference and meant I might spend £100 more than necessary. Local plumbers also gave differing results. I decided to take the average of these figures – seemed sensible enough!

I ended up buying the Acova 2-column traditional style radiator along with a Pegler thermostatic radiator valve from Screwfix.

I also had to deal with this little problem…

Exposed brickwork underneath window where the plaster has fallen off

Some of the wall fell off!

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A room of one’s own: bad smells, dodgy MDF and crumbling plaster (part 1)

Thursday, April 9, 2015 1 , , , , Permalink 0

Oops, this blog post is long overdue! For the past month I’ve been working non-stop decorating the second bedroom so it’s been hard finding time to blog.

The room is quite small (3 metres by 2 metres) but for me it’ll be one of the most important places in the house – my study and a home for my books.

Here’s what the room looked like at the start.

Second bedroom

Second bedroom

Convention dictates I should start with the first thing I did…

Step 1: getting rid of cat urine smells

I decided to rip up the carpet fairly quickly after moving in because of the pungent cat smell but it didn’t make much difference. The floorboards had obviously soaked up some of the cat urine from the previous furry occupants. To get rid of it, I made up a solution of warm water, bleach and floor cleaner and went over it with a mop. Then I let this dry and went over it again with a solution of warm water and white wine vinegar. Once this was dry I just used warm water and floor cleaner. Eventually the smell faded which meant we didn’t have to take up the Victorian floorboards.

As well as the carpet, something else which found its way into the skip that day was a modern pine fire surround. It was propped up against the wall but for some reason it fell over and landed bang on my ankle. I was so annoyed I just wanted rid of it as soon as possible!

Step 2: adding a new electrical socket

There was already one double socket in the room but it was nowhere near where I wanted my desk so I decided to install another one. It was a pretty easy job since I’d already taken off the skirting and the walls were just plasterboard which was easy to cut away. I added the new socket in the corner of the room in a more convenient location.

Wall with a new double socket and wire exposed.

Installing a new wall socket

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